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Why was Tae Kwon Do created?

Updated: 8/23/2023
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14y ago

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Short Answer:

Like most other Asian countries, Korea had its own native Martial Art systems that developed as a need for protection of individuals, villages, and Kingdoms which controlled shifting territories during feudal times. Evidence of Korea's earliest combative systems dates back to around the 1st century B.C. Some of these systems became labeled as "Subak" and "Tae Kyon."

Two thousand years later, during the Japanese annexation, and occupation of Korea (1910 - 1945), Korean culture, language, and history was being destroyed and displaced with the "Japanization" of Korea. Korean Martial Arts was also banned, but survived in secret. With the liberation of Korea at the end of WWII in 1945, Koreans began to restore their national identity by once again teaching native Korean language, and history in their public schools. The practice of Martial Art was also revived.

Taekwondo was created as a modern day form of self defense, exercise, and sport, as well as for personal development and enlightenment for the individual. As a country, Taekwondo was necessary for training of soldiers for combat, regaining national pride, and promotion of a popular sport to obtain international recognition and identity as an independent nation.

Detailed Answer:

Taekwondo is a martial art created by the efforts of several key Korean Martial Art figures during the post World War II era. One of the earliest pioneers was Won Kuk Lee, who founded the first official Martial Art school run by a Korean. He called his school Chung Do Kwan (School of the Blue Wave). In his youth, Won Kuk Lee had been introduced to the methods of Tae kyon, one of Korea's native fighting skills which employed kicking as a primary weapon. In the early 1940s Lee traveled to Japan and studied Shotokan Karate under the renowned expert, Gichin Funakoshi.

After the liberation of Korea at the end of World War II in 1945, many Black Belts of the Chung Do Kwan began opening Kwans (schools) under various names. Each school was teaching a myriad of self defense systems (Chinese, Japanese, and native Korean). One of Grandmaster Lee's students at the Chung Do Kwan, Choi Hong-Hi, had also been introduced to Tae Kyon as a youth, and later trained in Shotokan Karate under Sensei Funakoshi. Choi quickly rose through the ranks of the Korean military, and eventually became a Major General. He taught his own interpretation of Chung Do Kwan and Shotokan to Korean soldiers in the military school he called Oh Do Kwan.

During the 1950's a large number of Kwans were operating in Korea without any structure, leadership, or organization. Korea was beginning to regain its cultural identity that was nearly wiped out by the Japanese oppression. The practice and re-birth of Martial Art was becoming very popular, and it was decided among the leaders of the original Kwans that there needed to be unity in instruction, a clear curriculum based on native Korean Martial Art systems, and a new name to represent the national Korean Martial Art.

At a meeting in April of 1955, several Kwan directors, prominent historians and political leaders gathered and voted on ballots submitted. The ballot containing the term "Tae Kwon" ("Tae" meaning to smash with the foot, and "Kwon" to strike with the hand or fist) which closely resembled the native term Tae Kyon (kicking method) was chosen. It is debated among those who were present at this meeting as to who originally coined the name "Taekwon-do," but it is widely accepted that it was General Choi Hong Hi who submitted the ballot. Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee, founder of the Chung Do Kwan, said that several of his students consulted a Korean dictionary to arrive at this term. Nevertheless, the subsequent system of Taekwondo was created as a group effort that took more than a decade to agree upon the widespread use of the name, and an official curriculum.

Therefore, the art of Taekwondo was created for the rejuvenation of ancient Korean Martial Art, and to bring the various modern schools of self defense together under a united leadership. It was gradually restructured to remove the Japanese Karate influences that were prevalent in the early teachings of the Kwan founders. Taekwondo became more solidified in the 1960's when Kwans united in the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) and the sport began to emphasize the differences between Karate and Taekwondo tournament rules. This strategy supported Taekwondo's preference toward kicking, and facilitated a widespread molding of the structure, and physical attributes of techniques to support this philosophy.


The motivation behind the development of Taekwondo (besides individual gain) was to revive and preserve native Korean culture and traditions, establish a successful business market based on Korean Martial Art, unite modern Korean Martial Artist in a joint effort to improve the standards of teaching, testing, and promoting Black Belts, while also removing the influences of the hated Japanese oppressors. Taekwondo was first and foremost created as a means of self defense and deadly unarmed combat in war, and has been widely taught as a form of exercise, and sport entertainment.

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14y ago

Karate is a martial art. It was a way of fighting. It was designed to help you learn how to defend yourself and have confidence and knowledge. Also, to help you become physically stronger and respectful.

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Continue Learning about General History

How did tae kwon do start in the first place?

Tae-kwon-do stared when a General called General Choi Hong Hi started the sport up


Which martial art originated in Korea?

Tae Kwon Do


Who has the most points in a tae kwon do career?

in tae kwon do you don't get points sparring is the only thing people do against each other. and when you get points they are counted but not recorded anywhere like a hall of fame or something


Do they have Songahm Tae Kwon Do in Vietnam?

yes they do! they also have a variety of mixed martial arts if you are interested.


Which is the best college for Tae Kwon Do in Korea?

Kyung Hee University, offers the top program for taekwondo in Korea.

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나 태권도에 있어 ( nah tae-kwon-do eh itsuh


Is tae kwon do for girls?

Yes. Tae Kwon Do is popular for both girls and boys in South Korea and in the US.